There are many reasons to love your #keto life: Adhering to a high-fat, low-carb diet might be beneficial to weight-loss and health goals and might even reduce your anxiety. Not to mention, there’s a wealth of celebrity-approved keto recipes available for you to re-create. But if you’re currently following a keto-style diet, you might not want to be so adventurous with your cocktail intake, because even a moderate one-drink-per-night habit might hit you much harder than it would have when you weren’t sticking to the nutrition plan.
Since keto-style diets revolve around eating fats but almost no carbs, the rate at which you’ll go from feeling totally fine to completely wasted is probably much quicker than it would be for someone who filled up on hearty rice, bread, or pasta.
When your body is in ketosis, the glycogen (AKA fuel from carbs) in your bloodstream is limited and can’t absorb much alcohol, so you get drunk faster.
“When you’ve eaten a lot of carbs and your glycogen stores are filled, the rate at which you get drunk usually slows down. This is because there are more substances in your bloodstream and body that are capable of absorbing alcohol,” nutritionist and natural doctor Josh Axe told Men’s Health. But when your body is in ketosis, the glycogen in your bloodstream is limited, so you get drunk faster. Axe says even eating a high-protein meal beforehand won’t slow intoxication as well as carbs would.
Luckily, there’s a way you can be on a keto diet and still enjoy the occasional happy hour; you just need to follow a handful of important rules, according to Ginger Hultin, RDN. Though eating a high-fat, high-protein meal is not as effective at blocking effects of alcohol consumption as eating carbs, you should still never drink on an empty stomach. Make sure to consume plenty of low-carb fruits and veggies, and stay super hydrated by having a glass of water per drink. And never have more than one drink per hour. (In fact, these are probably smart drinking tips to implement regardless of your nutrition habits.)
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